Jazz singer Holly Cole to play first hometown show in 5 years

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By Jenna Conter - Metro Halifax

HALIFAX - She has lived in Toronto longer than her native Halifax, however internationally renowned jazz singer Holly Cole is elated to be coming back for her first hometown performance in five years.

Joined by her quintet, Cole is set to play the Spatz Theatre on Friday night.

Though her successful career has taken her around the world, including finding great success in Japan, she “dreams of moving back to Halifax.”

“It’s amazing to come home and play crowds that are always so energized and excited about music,” Cole said. “Nova Scotia has such a history of great musicians — in particular so many female vocalists.”

Present company included, Cole’s career began in the early 1980s and has been plotted with success through to the present day, including her recent honour of becoming the 15th Ella Fitzgerald Award winner during this summer’s Montreal Jazz Festival.

In addition to sharing the award with some of her idols, such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Tony Bennett, the honour isn’t based on records sold as like other music awards.

Rather it is used to celebrate “a jazz singer of significant talent who has had a major impact and influence in the international scene.”

It’s a sentiment that aligns perfectly with Cole’s appreciation for the craft.

“It’s more about artistic appreciation. Mostly it’s about spirit of improvisation, the spirit of jazz and love of the music,” she said.

“People ask me, ‘Have I achieved your goals’ and my goals were never to sell X amount of records, my goal always was once, one day, to play with the best musicians in the world. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

She does so every night with her quintet, said to be an essential travelling companion for Cole.

Having been together for years, Cole and the quintet have developed not only a unique musical sound, but also a strong musical esthetic — without which would render the entire performance a “train wreck.”

“The band is so rocking. Since it’s such a real band that have played for a long time and we understand each other — they know what I want to do so what happens is we can take chances which keeps it interesting.”


Here are the details for the upcoming show:

•    What? Holly Cole

•    Where? Spatz Theatre

•    When? Friday, 8 p.m., Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Organizations: Spatz Theatre

Geographic location: Japan, Nova Scotia, Montreal

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